Sunday, August 24, 2008

Wind power in Colorado

Having just returned from a 2 week vacation in Colorado, I was pleased to see this article about renewable energy, specifically wind power, becoming mainstream there. That the power company not only met the 10% renewable energy goal but urged the governor to double it for them says a lot to me. I think this quote sums it up:

"We've reached this critical point where we're seeing the deployment of these technologies accelerate," said John Nielsen, an energy analyst with the nonprofit environmental group Western Resource Advocates. "There was slow progress over the last decade, and you're now seeing this tipping point."

To read the full article, go here.

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Do-it-yourself Electric Cars

Today's email had a report from EVWorld about the Plug-In 2008 conference and, as usual, there were little articles mentioned along the side. One caught my eye - the DIY Electric Car options. Turns out these are pay someone to do it for you options to convert your gas car to electric, but hey, it's a start. If you're interested, read the article here.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

YouTube ad on going green

I get a weekly email from TerraPass (among many, many others) and today's had a story about an ad on YouTube from, a national organization that's pushing for all of us to unite in getting clean energy as soon as possible. I liked the ad so I'm making the link available here.

Monday, August 18, 2008

Slow Food Nation coming up

I'm digging myself out from under all the mail, email and chores that accumulated while I was on vacation (why does it take several days to recover from a vacation? but I digress...) when today brought a link to a SF Chronicle article about the Slow Food Nation expo coming up. We already get almost all of our produce from a local CSA, and most of our meat from a local ranch so we're way ahead of most Americans in eating locally. And given that a huge amount of the fossil fuels used in the US are used in producing or transporting food, I can only hope more people make the transition to locally produced food (simultaneously eating healthier, reducing climate impact and reducing our reliance on foreign oil. Serious multitasking!). The article has a short list of things to do and links to lots more internet information on this issue. I'll just note that while prices have gone up at our CSA ($1 per box of produce), the price increases I'm seeing at the supermarket are higher.

Monday, August 11, 2008

Denvention3 - The World Science Fiction Convention

If you read science fiction, you've probably heard of the Hugo Awards. They're given out by The World Science Fiction Convention, henceforth called WorldCon, and this year, my husband Jeff and I were 2/3rds of the subcommittee that administered the awards. We were part of the Hugo subcommittee this year with Mary Kay Kare being the head of the committee. Yes, this meant she had minions.

As Jeff is fond of saying, the Hugo Awards are one of the 3 officially required things done at a WorldCon. (The other two are holding the business meeting and the site selection balloting for the convention to be held in 2 years.) So there's a big ceremony on Saturday night for presenting the awards. And a practice run through for the volunteers doing the work on Saturday afternoon. And a large group of volunteers carrying the awards from Mary Kay's room through the convention center to the theatre somewhere in there. Basically, it took all of Saturday for us but the people attending the con got a nice show on Saturday night.

Here’s a picture of the artist who designed the base for this year, Lee Kuruganti, and Mary Kay (to her right facing the camera) in the Green Room at the reception before the ceremony. The other people in the picture are some of the nominees, socializing and sharing their nervousness.

I worked backstage with Mary Kay, handing out awards and escorting nominees on and off stage, so I missed the speeches mostly but got to see the workings of the process. This was interesting to me as the first time we administered the Hugos, for the Atlanta WorldCon in 1986, the process was less elaborate.

Here’s a link to a close-up photo of this year’s Hugo award along with the list of awards.

Friday, August 8, 2008

Vacation day #8 - green legislation in Boulder

While I was catching up on my online reading during a rainstorm here in Boulder, I ran across an article on about legislation in California that will help homeowners finance energy efficient improvements such as solar panels, new furnaces or insulation, etc. The next day, there was an article about similar legislation being put on the ballot in Boulder county this fall. Since this is one of those ideas that seems obvious to me, I was delighted to see that some places are moving forward on this. You can read about it here.

Today we head to Denver and the World Science Fiction Convention, Denvention 3. Jeff, my husband, and I are 2/3rds of the Hugo Subcommittee responsible for running the Hugo awards. This makes the convention partly business for us, but the rest will be socializing with friends and enjoying a weekend without children. I hope your weekend is also fun!

Sunday, August 3, 2008

Vacation day #3 - today's bird is a red-tailed hawk

Today was a relaxed and quiet day with 2 walks to see birds. The early morning walk went down the block, past the big vegetable garden of the neighbor who has a daughter at Bastyr in Seattle, and across a field and an irrigation ditch into an area that claims it's a park but doesn't seem to have a name. This was where my husband took pictures of hot air balloons and I took pictures of a red-tailed hawk sitting in a tree. I'm thinking I'll use the bird photos I take in future quilts, but then I always think that...

Later in the day, Mary (my sister-in-law) and I went for a walk on the Bobolink Trail. It goes along a creek that's pretty full right now so there's lots of cover. We were there just before lunch time so the only birds visible were swallows and flickers. I'm thinking I'll go back tomorrow morning and see what else is around because it's a wonderful bird habitat.

When the rain rolled in (while the sun was still shining, welcome to Colorado...) we headed home and after lunch, a group of us went to Barnes and Noble, and my teenage niece Amy and I hit JoAnne's for some fabric and other sewing needs. She's really into making purses and bags right now and I have promised her some help with a sewing problem she's experienced. I also worked out a quick pattern for her to use a leftover quilt block as the center of a triangle shaped pillow. It was fun to be the family expert on this stuff and I'm looking forward to spending tomorrow doing sewing stuff with her.

Saturday, August 2, 2008

Vacation day #2 - Visiting with lifelong friends

We had brunch today with Chris and Barb who've been friends of ours for close on 30 years. We've always stayed in touch no matter where we lived, but we were in frequent contact when we lived in the same spot. Now, we're in Seattle, and they're in Boulder, so it's been mostly email, some phone calls, and annual newsletters. It was great to see them in person and have a chance to catch up on what they've been doing.

It made me think of how many friends I have kept over the years, and how much I value the people who have known me so long. It's easy to forget how much change there's been over a lifetime. These friends help me get the perspective I need to see the change and the continuity.

We're going to be visiting with other long time friends later in the week. Not to mention the number of people we'll see at the WorldCon. It's going to be an interesting trip down memory lane in some ways.

When we work out the cable connection to my husband's phone, I'll have a photo of the 4 of us outside the cafe we ate brunch at.

And we fixed the sending email problem. Turns out that connecting through the household comcast connection required a different port number... Technology, you gotta love it.

Friday, August 1, 2008

Colorado vacation - read only email (day #1)

So we're here in Boulder, Colorado visiting relatives before going to the Denver WorldCon next weekend, and I can read my email but haven't been able to send any mail to anyone. This is frustrating, as I have several people I chat with every day and I was counting on being able to do this even while traveling. That's the point of lugging the laptop and accessories along, at least as far as I'm concerned. Tomorrow, I'll try and debug the problem - whether it's the house network not staying up long enough, or my mail server being down with some sort of problem, or some other possibility I haven't thought of yet.

As for Colorado, things have changed a lot in the 10 years since we lived here. There are more houses, more roads, and more people. Other things I noticed: people riding motorcycles without helmets. That was a shocker, at least the first one I saw. Then I realized he wasn't wearing leathers either, and on a highway with a 70 mph speed limit. But, given that it was about 90 F at the airport when we landed, I can understand why someone would rather not.

Here's a view from the second story deck at my sister-in-law's house. They live near Baseline Reservoir so there's water nearby and mountains in the distance. Seems ideal to me at this point, but then I live in the PNW, with ocean and lakes nearby and mountains to the east.